ARE YOU AN IMPOSTOR?
My sister in law, Becky, is studying at the moment, and as part of her course she has to do some teaching. Standing in front of a room full of students isn’t exactly her idea of fun, but it was something else she said about how teaching made her feel that really got me thinking, and sadly was ALLLL too familiar.
It made her feel like an IMPOSTOR.
Who was SHE to be teaching when she was still learning herself?
Who was SHE to be the ‘expert’ when she was a nervous wreck inside?
She felt under constant threat of being uncovered as a FRAUD at any moment.
Turns out the ‘Impostor Syndrome’ is an actual thing (there’s a Wikipedia page and everything). And I’ll take a wild guess that we have a few sufferers on this group!
After all, as small business owners we’ve got to be all things to all men at first. The expert clinician, the customer service assistant, the marketeer, the negotiator, the administrator. So we’re bound to be waaaay out of our comfort zone on a regular basis.
And that, my friend, is when you know your business is heading in the RIGHT direction.
‘Eh?’ I hear you cry. ‘I don’t WANT heart palpitations every time someone uses an acronym I haven’t heard of!’
Let me explain.
You see, I believe passionately in the mantra:
LIFE BEGINS AT THE EDGE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
Cheesy Americanism? Maybe.
The reason we feel like impostors is because we’re desperately searching for external validation. We’re so used to our professional worth being determined by our boss, university, or professional body, that we don’t know how to validate ourselves….
…Well, we’re our own bosses now, so we need to learn!
My worst Impostor Syndrome moment happened in 2009 in a taxi from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris centre. Tim had been invited to a big aesthetics conference as a guest of Allergan and I was coming along for the ride. Our business was only small at the time so I felt firmly out of my depth amongst what I imagined would be the ‘big boys’.
When we landed in Paris we headed over to the meeting place for Allergan guests, and who should we be sharing a taxi with but Dr Roy Saleh and his wife Sylvia, the Grand Duke and Duchess of aesthetics! I immediately recognised Dr Saleh from stalking his website, and went into an Impostor Syndrome spin.
Who was I to be getting a free taxi to a posh hotel in Paris with such experienced business people?
What if they asked me for my non-existent business card?
What if they noticed that my handbag wasn’t designer?
As it happened, they were very kind and didn’t quiz me, and the rest of the weekend was really informative and helped my business confidence massively.
I learnt an important lesson that weekend – if you have the balls to step out of your comfort zone, you’ll soon learn that you DESERVE to be there.
And you? Are you an impostor?
HELL NO! You’ve earned your place at the table, with blood, sweat and tears, and you need to make damn sure the devil on your shoulder doesn’t tell you otherwise 😉